Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Wheel That's Been Around the Block

No, I'm not talking about an antique wheel, or a wheel that has spun thousands of skeins of yarn. This wheel has not only spun miles of fibre, but it has travelled many a bumpy path. It has transported its treadler to imaginary and real life places. And it has had a second chance at a new and rewarding life.

Thanks to Jill, a visitor at our regular spinning circle, we all had a chance to smile and wonder at this intriguing machine while we worked away at our usual wheels and spindles.

Jill, a former spinning teacher, met many people who wanted to spin but couldn't afford a wheel. To get them started, she fashioned spinning wheels from treadle sewing machines, other found items and actual bobbins and flyers.

As a curator at a small museum near Hanover and Owen Sound, she scrounged parts and supplies and the labour of handy people to create this tool. Her goal was to catch the attention of children and to inspire them to try their hands at spinning ...and many did.

Yup! This 'tired' wheel's been around the block a few times :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Last week it was your turn but this week it was mine.

K-W Knitter's Fair was a blast last week. Many, many friendly knitters dropped by to chat, fondle and drool. They shopped 'til they dropped and, I'm sure, saw lots of inspiring projects, fibres and tools. At the end of the day when we started packing up, I realized that I had missed my chance to wander and touch and dream. And I was just a bit envious ...sigh

It is Sunday next and I'm smiling in my comfy chair gazing at "my" yarn purchases, (oops! - yarns for the shop). Today was the first annual Knit Trade, a chance for Canadian retailers to shop with mostly Canadian wholesalers. And I got to chat, fondle, drool ...and learn much more about these creative and inspiring entrepreneurs.
Now, I bet you're feeling a bit envious ...

Thank you, Cabin Fever, for making this happen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Respect for Knitters

It seems that this topic has touched a nerve. Apparently, many local knitters just don't get much respect from non-knitters.

This week, I heard several comments from customers who experience knitter discrimination on a regular basis. They are getting tired of hearing, "What are you knitting, old lady?" ...when we are anything but old. 'Knitting' and 'old' do not automatically go together. And if they are lumped together, it should be in a complimentary way that shows respect to those who have practiced their skills for many years, and who can now practically knit in their sleep; respect for those who want to create something out of mere sticks and string, passing skills from one generation to the next.

....stepping down off my soapbox

Our list of non-traditional jobs/careers for knitters has grown. One reader sent the following to me by email:
"My late husband was an expert knitter, having been taught by his mother when he was ten years old and a new brother arrived in the family. He started knitting baby clothes. He was an electrical engineer and designer by trade and in later years, when health forced him to give up his career, he took up knitting again, and began designing and knitting his own sweaters - Aran knits, and many other styles, with matching caps. Whenever we were out together and someone admired his sweater and asked if his wife had knit it for him, I would proudly declare, "No, he designed and knit that for himself." When he passed away in 2004, I buried him in one of his favourite sweaters, a beautiful Aran cardigan.

In the early 1990's,we had a small knitting business and Neil began teaching knitting. We would gather together several (usually women and their family and friends) who wanted to learn to knit and one of them would hold the classes at her home. He would go there once a week and teach them to knit a sweater. I was the only wife I knew whose husband would go out in an evening with five to six women and I would not be the least bit concerned."
London, ON

Knitters really are an interesting and varied group - no stereotypes here!